Visioning 2 Event Set for Monday Night – Jan 12th

Dear Ewing Neighbor,

The year 2013 marked the Ewing’s first Sustainable Jersey Bronze certification, a recognized milestone for NJ towns that are forward moving. In 2014, the Ewing Green Team (EGT), working in partnership with Township Administration, wanted to capitalize on that as well as other Township successes by gathering Ewing citizens to look ahead and prepare for coming challenges and to anticipate the many opportunities that await our town  by creating a multi-year vision and action plan for sustainability in Ewing!

On June 7th at the EGT’s first Community Conversation: Preserving Our Past, Transforming Our Future, we began a journey together to thoughtfully chart a course for our future.   That morning was lively and exhilarating and reminded us all why we chose to live in Ewing – wonderful neighbors all working hand in hand to envision the best future for our town.  Led by a pair of sustainability champions from Cherry Hill, we worked to Preserve Our Past, evaluating our township as it currently exists and identifying the aspects of our community that we most valued.  We then envisioned how to Transform Our Future, imagining where we would like our community to be in ten or twenty years.  All of this was to create a shared vision that would form the basis for developing goals and completing actions that move the community toward a more ideal, sustainable community.   As one participant stated:  “I truthfully wanted to skip it when I saw what a beautiful day it was, but I’m so glad that I went!  I think this will be a very beneficial process for Ewing, if it is communicated to and shared with the community.”

During the months following we refined and amplified the suggested actions believed most realistic for Ewing that best reflected citizen ideas.  Now on January 12, 2015 we are pulling the effort together.  Many of you contributed ideas and experiences during 2014.  Now on Monday we invite you back to continue the journey with us and help make the community vision a reality.  Monday night’s program will feature an overview of the highlights of our Sustainability Plan, a fusion of the collective values and aspirations that have been expressed by you all during the Visioning process.  This community wrap-up session will include also break-out sessions where you will be encouraged to further hone specific doable actions, suggest partnerships, additional sub-actions, individuals or businesses to contact, specific educational topics, etc.

Our Sustainability Plan can become a great resource for our town by allowing us to peer into the future and lend shape to the unknown. Together, through the Vision, we have been able to plan for the future of our town with imagination and thoughtful wisdom. We laid the foundation for what Ewing will look like 10 or 20 years in the future including perhaps a Ewing that will make it into NJ Monthly Magazine’s bi-annual Best Cities/Towns to Live, a front porch community where people no longer retreat to their backyards but commune more with their neighbors, where block parties for neighborhoods to come together are common, and a town that is more walkable and bikeable, and one that has more community plantings and more community gardens.  These visions and many more are addressed throughout the Vision Plan.

We invite you to journey with us to the Ewing of the future, as envisioned by you, our neighbors.

The Ewing Green Team

All Conversation documents are located at https://ewinggreenteam.org/conversation-documents.

You may reference the current draft plan at the bottom of the page at: https://ewinggreenteam.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/egt_strategic_plan.pdf.

IMPORTANT: We request that you please REPLY NOW if you are coming, to help us ensure sufficient seating and refreshments.

Date: this coming Monday January 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
Place: Community Room of the Ewing Senior & Community Center at 999 Lower Ferry Rd.

Community Conversation Initiates Discussion on Sustainability Issues in Ewing

Just over two weeks ago over 50 concerned Ewing residents, township staff and elected officials  met to have a discussion about a sustainable future for Ewing Township.   It was a gorgeous day and in fact according to one attendee ” I truthfully wanted to skip it when I saw what a beautiful day it was, but I’m so glad that I went!  I think this will be a very beneficial process for Ewing, if it is communicated to and shared with the community.”

In fall of 2013, Ewing Township obtained its first bronze-level of Sustainable Jersey certification.  Using the funds made possible from  a $10,000 Sustainable Jersey Small Grant funded by PSEG Foundation, the team is using a community visioning process to plan for the next 3 year certification.   By consulting the community on what is important to them, the Ewing Green Team plans to respond with a coordinated strategy plan that is specific to what the people of Ewing value and want.  The  Community Conversation on June 7th was the first step in the process. The Green Team will now take the input gathered from the participants and work to develop and prioritize specific goals.  Look for development of specific topics developed at the visioning to be further refined at the summer Green Team meetings.  A second visioning workshop is targeted for fall 2014. The community be invited to come together again to review the sustainability goals that were developed.

Zero Waste Report

Our first conversation was a low-waste effort.  We saw many travel mugs and personal beverage containers.  We were pleased to obtain about ½ of a bag of compostable materials which were taken to the compost bins at the Community Gardens on Whitehead Road Extension.  There was about ¼ of a bag of actual “garbage” that will end up in a landfill.  And the rest of the trash was recyclable.  We kept the badges – the plastic containers are reusable (we hope see community members again during our meetings as we brainstorm for a plan and at the Fall review) and the paper insert was recyclable.

It required a little bit more effort to plan for a low waste event, but for a gathering of our size we felt that the results justified our efforts.  From the cloth napkins to the absence of extraneous handouts and paper, to the lack of individual sized containers (e.g. sugar packets, individual creamers and tubs and jars of condiments, etc.) and even to the double sided badge with the agenda, we tried to reduce our use of unnecessary packaging, plastic and garbage in general.

The public is invited to attend the next Ewing Green Team meeting on June 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ewing Senior and Community Center where the members will begin to brainstorm on some of the initial themes developed from the visioning session.

Thanks, Sustainable Jersey!

SNJ_RegisteredLogo_4Many thanks to Sustainable Jersey for their recently announced approval of a $2,000 capacity-building grant to support our outreach and sustainability efforts.   This award is part of $380,000 in grants that have just been awarded through the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program which is funded in part by Walmart.  The grants will be given to recipients at the Annual Sustainable Jersey Awards Luncheon on November 19, 2013 at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities conference in Atlantic City.

This is an important and exciting time for Ewing Township and its Green Team.    The Township is in the process of redeveloping the former GM site on Parkway Avenue which will lead to the creation of a town center where none currently exists.   It is a source of excitement and hope, for a vastly improved landscape, a place for living and working, community interaction and economic development.  The project is an intersection of housing, retail, community space and transportation, which in itself is a plus for sustainability of the township in the coming decades.

At the same time, we feel that we are just beginning to hit our stride as a champion for Ewing’s sustainability.   In the next 12-18 months, the Ewing Green Team intends to increase outreach to the community, hone the skills, credentials and commitment of our  members, and most importantly, create a Community Sustainability Plan with internal and external stakeholders, including Township officials, community groups, and members of the public.

The coming months will see extensive board training, stakeholder analysis and strategic planning.   Our blueprint for the future will also include expanded educational and outreach efforts via our website and social and print media.  We also plan to explore ways to create small group discussion around film, books or speakers.  The grant will provide the technology and equipment (projector, easel, flipcharts and much more) to help these events function optimally.  Thank you, Sustainable Jersey, for your support for our vision for a more sustainable Ewing Township.